A recently filed federal lawsuit says the Cincinnati Police Department attacked and violated the rights of an autistic Black man in 2019.
According to documents filed Tuesday, Feb. 2, in a Cincinnati court, 32-year-old Brandon Davis was subjected to repeated tasing, shoved into a chain-link fence, and forcefully kneed in his back by CPD officers Emily Heine and Weston Voss.
The suit alleges Davis was attacked by the officers sometime after 11 p.m. on Feb. 4, 2019, while he was walking home from a friend’s house in Cincinnati’s South Cumminsville neighborhood to the home he shares with his mother in the nearby Millvalle district.
Davis did not have a criminal record at the time, according to Cincinatti.com, but he was charged with jay-walking, resisting arrest and being in the park after dark. He spent a night in jail and was eventually acquitted of all charges.
However, Davis said he was not in the park but rather near it and, due to his autism, following a safety route put in place for his protection for whenever he went anywhere.
Friedman, Gilbert and Gerhardstein are representing Davis in the case, which is suing for unreasonable seizure, false arrest and malicious prosecution. They said Davis was targeted merely for “walking while Black.”
After being given “competing commands,” the lawsuit says Davis became overwhelmed by the shouting due to his autism. That’s when the lawsuit alleges Heine “initiated her own vicious attack,” tasing Davis seven times within a two-minute, 14-second window. During the ordeal, Davis is said to have “pleaded again and again with Heine and Voss to stop tasing him” and tried repeatedly to explain he’d done nothing wrong.
“What they did to me was terrible. I did nothing wrong. They hurt me,” Davis said in a statement. Despite his pleas, the lawsuit says, “Heine and Voss pushed Davis onto his stomach on the ground” and “Voss dig his knee into” Davis’ back while Heine continued to tase him.
The lawsuit also alleges a supervisor who was called onto the scene asked Davis how old he was and when he responded, “32,” the supervisor said, “You know how this game goes, then. Chill out.”
Davis and his attorneys found the comment egregious, alleging the supervisor said that because “he believed that because Brandon Davis was an adult Black man, he must have experienced the pain, fear and humiliation of this type of event before and should therefore ‘chill out.’”
Davis’ attorneys say their client — who is 5 feet 10 and weighed 130 pounds at the time — didn’t “engage in any behavior that would justify attack.” Davis’ mother, whom he’d called for help after being stopped by the officers, said she heard him screaming in pain and ran down the street to help him.
An internal review by the police department determined the use of tasing followed procedure and they were never disciplined. CPD told Fox19 they don’t comment on pending litigation.
Davis and his mother have a different outlook and want the officers to be held accountable. “I want these police officers off the streets — in Cincinnati and anywhere else they try to get a job,” Davis said.
His mother said her son was targeted in spite of all of her efforts to prevent this from happening.
“They traumatized him forever when all he did was walk down the street to his house,” Davis’ mother said. “I don’t want this to happen to any man, woman or child again. This has to stop, and it has to stop now.”